NEW RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development

Full CourseLocationPrice
NEW RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and DevelopmentHome£760.00
Course ModulesPrice
NEW RHS Level 2 Principles Unit 1(DL including exam fees and registration for both units)£610.00
NEW RHS Level 2 Principles Unit 2 (DL)£350.00
6 month extension to course enrolment£150.00

Enrol for this course or module

This course replaced the previous RHS Level 2 Certificates in September 2022.

Details of the costs and examination format are outlined below under  'costs and venue' and 'how is it delivered and assessed?' Please read this carefully as there are major changes from the way the current RHS qualifications are structured and organised which affect how we can deliver the qualifications and how you will be able to study them. If you prefer, you can watch/listen to a short voiced powerpoint on how the course for the new Certificate is arranged, and on how the exams work.


The RHS puts it simply: ' All life on earth is directly or indirectly reliant on plants either from a nutritional perspective or increasingly ... through a deeper connection linked to mental health and wellbeing. People need plants. Plants need horticulturists.'

This new Level 2 Certificate covers the core scientific principles underpinning horticultural practices, and looks at how horticulture benefits society. It also considers horticulture's role in preserving biodiversity, introducing more sustainable practices and reducing our carbon footprint to protect the natural environment.

The qualification is designed to help you develop the level of knowledge of plants and horticultural practices which is considered essential by the horticultural industries,  and equip you for employment within the horticultural sector. It can help with career development if you already working in the profession, but also provides a springboard for a change of career into horticulture.

The course gives you an opportunity to develop transferable skills such as problem solving, implementing management plans / programmes, and communication as part of your applied learning,  and to progress to further learning opportunities at Level 3, and then to higher education, career advancement or entry in the horticultural industries at a more advanced, technical level.

There are no pre-requisites for entry to this qualification.


What will I study?

The new RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development (2022)  consists of two units, each covering 4 topics:

Unit 1: Plant Science I, Plant Health, Plant Nutrition, Plant Specification

Unit 2: Plant Science II, Planting Styles, Horticulture and Society, Biodiversity.

In line with all of the new RHS qualifications, the requirements in each topic of the syllabus are now constructed around ‘assessment outcomes’ (AOs) which define the way in which you will demonstrate your knowledge, understanding and skills of making links between relevant topic areas,  under test conditions.

The AOs use a ‘progressive mastery’ model for each topic area. These qualifications have three broad categories of assessment outcomes, which are:

AO1 – knowledge recall of scientific ideas, processes, techniques, procedures, and making correct use of terms, symbols and units of measurement
AO2 – application of knowledge and understanding of concepts, theories, facts to different situations and contexts through presentation of reasoned explanations and analysis and interpretation of information and ideas
AO3 – application of knowledge and understanding in an integrated and holistic way in order to reach conclusions and make judgements and recommendations

Course materials will provide the underpinning information required for the assessment outcomes, and examine their progressive applications in aspects of horticulture. Sample assessments will be used for practice.

What is covered?

You can download the syllabus for the new RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development (2022) here.

How is it delivered and assessed?

Online learning gives you flexible study  - you can log in to your 'virtual classroom' for each unit: 

  • Download notes and presentations to read on or offline, or print them out if  you prefer
  • View interactive materials and 'self-test' quizzes online
  • Contact your course tutor using the internal messaging system
  • Upload practice exam papers and questions
  • Keep in touch with other students on your course through the online forum
  • Get updates and reminders about exam deadlines

Study at home, or whenever and wherever it suits you. You can download most of the course materials, print them out if you prefer, or take them with you on a tablet on your daily commute.


The two units will each be assessed by a separate examination:  examination 1 will cover Unit 1 (topics 1.1-1.4) and examination 2 will cover Unit 2 (topics 2.1-2.4). 

For each examination there will be 100 marks available and each will take 120 minutes to complete.

The exams will consist of three sections: section A , 20  'forced-answer' questions ( e.g. multiple choice) , 20 marks; section B, short-answer questions, 50 marks; section C, choice of 2 from 4 questions, 2 x 15 marks.

You must achieve at least 50% in each unit and pass both unit 1 and 2 in order to be awarded the qualification. A final grade for the overall qualification will be calculated by amalgamating the marks for each unit and expressed as a percentage. Learners will be awarded the following grades for the complete qualification:
50-64% Pass
65-79% Merit
80%+ Distinction.

Examinations:  the RHS have now decided that exams will take place in February,June and October  each year.

You can begin to study online/correspondence theory courses at any point in the year  -  your enrolment is for 18 months. 

We will automatically enter you for the next two practicable examination rounds, one for each unit; so for example no-one enrolling at the end of March would be entered for June, the first exam would be in October, then the second in June.   Access to the course material is for 18 months but extensions of six months can be added, to allow for exam deferral or study for resits. Registration for this qualification with the RHS is for 2 years.

The matrix for exam entries from enrolment dates can be seen here and the RHS exam timetable (which covers all qualifications) here.  If you have a particular desire to enter for two units together rather than take them individually, please  notify  after you enrol.

Practice papers will be provided and exam preparation reminders built into each student’s weekly calendar in the online classroom.

 Click here to enter the teaching website to  see some examples of course materials in a sample online classroom ( you will be asked to log in as a guest).

What qualification will I get?

When you have passed exams in both units, the Royal Horticultural Society will award you the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development (2022) - at either Pass, Merit of Distinction.

What is the cost and venue(s)?

For the new RHS qualifications there are two parts to the cost: tuition and RHS fees. 

Tuition: Online course materials and tuition for both units will cost £500, or you  can enrol on each unit in turn for £350.  

 RHS fees : The RHS have made a decision that a Centre can only accept you on an RHS course if you commit to the complete assessment process when you start. Their fees for the new Level 2 theory qualification are  £20 for registration  and £150 for examination  and assessment, but additional charges for the online examinations (£20 per exam )plus administration for these will make the total £260.  In the month that you enrol the RHS will invoice us for registration fees and ask us to enter you for examinations,  so these RHS fees are now due at the beginning of the course as an itemised part of the initial payment, and we cannot enrol you for a unit or the complete course without charging you this fee.

This means that the total course cost is either £760 (£500 tuition + £260 exam fees) or £610 (first unit £350 tuition + £260 exam fees) followed by £350 for the second unit tuition.


What is the enrolment process?

 You can enrol and buy the course or the two units separately on the website using PayPal; you will be asked to enter your BEST student number if you purchase unit 2 separately to confirm that you have bought unit 1 and enrolled for examinations already.

When you enrol, your username and password should be emailed to you automatically; please check spam filters if you do not see an email within an hour, and contact us if nothing has arrived overnight. 

Please note: the RHS no longer accepts candidates for its examinations unless they are registered with a centre; it is no longer possible to enter as an 'external' candidate after self-study.

What else do I need to know?

There is no compulsory course work;  but you will be given the opportunity to try practice questions to prepare yourself for the examinations and encouraged to use tests at the end of each Topic to check your understanding as you work through the course. You can also complete a workbook for each Topic to consolidate your knowledge. Your tutor will give you help and support through your preparation for your two exam sessions, but you will continue to have access to the classroom and to your online resources for the full 18 months.

Our candidates have enjoyed a good level of success in these first new RHS examinations;  in the previous format, over 90% passed on the first attempt and approximately half of those, passed with commendation (that means they achieve 70% or more in the exam).


What can I do after completing this course?

You can go on to study the RHS Practical Certificate, and work towards the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles and Practices of Horticulture; or if you have already studied the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance, you can study the RHS Practical Certificate and achieve the RHS Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture.

An RHS Level 2 qualification is well respected in the horticultural industry and can be the first step in changing to a career in horticulture.